Cover Image: Saving Meghan

Saving Meghan

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Member Reviews

"Munchausen syndrome by proxy (MSBP) is a mental health problem in which a caregiver makes up or causes an illness or injury in a person under his or her care, such as a child. Because vulnerable people are the victims, MSBP is a form of child abuse."

Becky Gerard is about to take a flight to California to visit her dying mother when she learns her fifteen-year-old daughter Meghan is in the emergency room. Becky throws a fit until they allow her to leave the plane which had been taxiing for take off. 

While at the hospital, Becky calls on her many cozy relationships with doctors to get her daughter more tests. All come back negative. Meghan's medical file is as thick as War and Peace. 

Meghan's father Carl learns of a doctor who is a specialist in mitochondrial disease, Dr Zack Fisher, who feels that might be what is wrong with Meghan. Unfortunately, tests he runs are inconclusive and Meghan is too afraid of needles to have a muscle biopsy done that might give a more definitive result. 

When she falls ill yet again with no apparent cause, Dr Amanda Nash begins to suspect Munchausen syndrome by proxy as defined above and works with the hospital to get Meghan removed from the Gerard home. How can Becky prove Meghan is really ill and bring her child back home?

The story is told by three characters, two in third person point of view--Becky and Zach; and Meghan's first person point of view. 

Although Meghan is a delightful kid, I really could not connect to these characters and found the pace of the story to be plodding. There are hints of behaviors that are kept secret and it takes till nearly the story's end to reveal these important secrets. I enjoyed the twist to the ending though; the pace of the plot picks up considerably at that point and things suddenly make sense. Is this a family drama or a mystery? Read the book to decide. 

I received an arc of this book from the publisher via NetGalley for my honest review.
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Saving Meghan by D.J. Palmer is a recommended domestic medical thriller.

Becky Gerard is a devoted mother who only wants her only child, Meghan, to be well and healthy, but Meghan has been struggling with a mysterious, undiagnosed illness. Becky has learned the medical jargon and made personal connections with specialists while trying to help Meghan. Carl, Becky's husband and Meghan's father, doubts Becky's motives. He thinks she is obsessed and making Meghan ill by her treatment of her.

When Becky meets with several new specialists she gets a new diagnosis for Meghan and a diagnosis for herself. While one specialist, Dr. Zach Fisher, believes Meghan has mitochondrial disease, another more powerful MD, Dr. Amanda Nash, believes Becky has Munchausen syndrome by proxy and maneuvers the situation for the state to take custody of Meghan. Now Becky is fighting for the life of her child and her reputation.

The narrative is told through several different characters, including Becky, Meghan, and Zach, with Becky being the main narrator. Becky and Carl both are rude and unpleasant characters, although we are repeatedly told how darn attractive they are and how much this matters to everyone they encounter. Becky is such an annoying character - egotistical, privileged, and manipulative - that it is difficult to muster sympathy for her. It is clear, from the start, that Becky will be accused of Munchausen's. She is so unlikable that it is easy to believe except for snippets from Meghan's narrative which suggest something else is going on in her family.

The writing is good, in spite of the unpleasant characters. This is a medical thriller that will pass the time if you simple overlook the traits of the characters and just follow the plot. There are some twists and surprises, however the pacing is a little slow at times. While there is a lot of medical jargon, it does serve to highlight Becky's obsession with Meghan's medical condition which helps to make Becky's diagnosis believable. This was a 3.5 for me, but I'm rounding down because the novel was a chore to read at certain junctures. A strong airplane book choice.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of St. Martin's Press.
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If you only read one book this year, Saving Meghan should be it. It is a great thriller.

There has been a lot of hype around this book. And when there is a lot of hype, there is always the worry that the book won't live up to it. I can tell you that Saving Meghan definitely lives up to the hype.

Right from the beginning, you believe that Meghan is really sick with a mystery disease. There are so many illnesses these days that are either rare or hard to diagnosis (because of lack of education on the disease or no definitive test exists for it). It is very believable that there really is something wrong with her that no one has figured out yet. And what parent won't go to any lengths to get their daughter well?

But as the story develops, the doubts start to creep in. Meghan's mom Becky was raised by a disability scammer. She knows how to manipulate the medical profession to get what she wants. As almost every character, including Becky and Meghan, start questioning Becky's true motivations. Is she making Meghan sick because of some unresolved issue with her own mother? This question is at the forefront of the story as Meghan is removed from the home on the accusation of medical abuse.

Perhaps because I've dealt with my own explained illness or because I've known parents that have had to advocate strongly for their child's healthcare, this story really sucked me in. 

There are clues sprinkled throughout that the points the finger at various characters who of less than pure motives. I didn't feel that these clues for one particular character were very subtle and I was pretty sure that character was behind everything. Yet with these clues jumping off the page, I had to wonder if it was a red herring. There is also a nice twist at the end that fit with the story but wasn't completely obvious.

When I started the book at the beginning of the week, I wasn't sure if I would finish it in time to review it today. But it reads really quickly and I finished it in a matter of days. And it isn't just an enjoyable story to read for entertainment. There are some important issues brought up, which would make this book a great read for book clubs.

I don't say this often this early in the year, but I'm sure Saving Meghan will be topping "Best of" lists this year. I know it will be on mine.
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Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Is Megan really sick?.. is Mom to blame?.. or is it something else.....??
I really liked this book! Such a well written Medical Thriller/ Mystery with full developed characters and a plot that kept me up way past my bedtime!! 
4.5 stars
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Saving Meghan by D.J. Palmer was one rollercoaster of a book! It starts off at a full speed of emotions and pretty much stays that way to the end. This is the story of a sick girl with a mother accused of having Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. I was not particularly fond of any of the characters, but that did not matter, the storyline was solid and I most definitely did not figure out the mystery. This book kept me guessing throughout. Recommend.
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I was very excited by the blurb for this book. I have mixed feelings about this medical thriller.  I enjoyed it for the most part.
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Four riveting stars to this medical thriller!
15 year old Meghan is plagued by an undiagnosed illness. Years of doctor visits and testing have left the family at odds and desperate for answers. They are finally given hope by a Doctor who suspects a rare mitochondrial disease. He then refers her to another Dr. who in turn believes this is a case of Munchausen by proxy. The family is divided, the doctors at odds, and a young girl is caught in the middle.
This book kept me riveted until the very end. I loved the multiple points of view and the suspense as I second guessed everyone and everything. This probably would have been a five star read for me if not for the conclusion. While I never saw it coming, it reached epic proportions that didn’t really fit with the rest of the book for me. However, I loved the suspense throughout and I read it in one day because I was so hooked on the story. For me, Saving Meghan was ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 stars. Thank you @stmartinspress for this advance reader in exchange for my honest review.
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4.5 Stars rounded up!

But there's a difference between letting someone into your life and letting someone define it. I know that now. And, yeah, I finally feel free.

What a wild ride. I loved it.

Meghan is sick but no one can tell her or her family what is wrong with her. She's gone to see so many doctors they've lost count and she's gotten more misdiagnosis then is reasonable. Meghan's Dad Carl finally finds someone new who he thinks may be able to help diagnosis Meghan. They go to meet with him and he thinks she has a certain illness - mito however it's very hard to prove. Dr. Zach brings in some more help and the whole situation takes a big turn. Now they are saying it's Munchausen's by Proxy which is when a parent tries to find medical treatment for their child who isn't even sick....

Becky is trying so hard to help Meghan but what do you do when you are accused of something you just don't believe to be true? And how do you keep your marriage healthy when you both are not on the same page and your child is sick? The story twists and turns every which way that you won't know what to think until the very end.

What a crazy thriller. I wasn't so sure what to think when I first started to read it as there was a lot of unknowns. At the same time though, it made me want to continue to read the story to find out what is really wrong with Meghan. I was pretty sure I knew what was going to end up happening but I was wrong in the end. I actually like to be wrong in these situations, it tends to make the story more thrilling for me.

The thing I loved most about this book was that the author kept writing so that my viewpoint kept changing. There were times I was on Meghans side, then her mom's side, her dad's side and even multiple doctors sides. I did not believe one person all the way through the book which made the ending exciting. The last 150 pages of this book were the best and I binged them. There's so many high stakes situations that happen and everything unravels. At the end I just said woah.

I think this book was more enjoyable for me because I do not have kids. I thought Becky was annoying and overbearing. Again, I don't have kids so I think it made it easier for me to be not on Becky's side during the book. If I had a child maybe I would understand her perspective more but her character's emotions felt very exaggerated and almost too much. That's why I couldn't stand her. Even in the end I wasn't happy for her.

Overall very solid thriller and I would recommend it to anyone who loves thrillers. Also can we give props to the cover artist? This cover is AMAZING!.

Thank you to St. Martin's Press for my ARC of this book. This comes out April 9th and you should definitely pick it up!
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I did not love this book, but I do think it was interesting. The marketing for the book was fantastic! I went in to it totally againsnt the mom, and I didn’t see some of the twists coming. 

I thought the book was a little too long for everything that happened.

Thank you to St.Martins Press for my advance copy. All thoughts are my own.
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This was a very good medical thriller from beginning to dramatic ending. It had me turning pages way to late and way to early. It was very hard to put down. 

What do you do when you know in your heart that your daughter is sick. Very sick. No one believes you. No one will listen. They all believe you are sick and that you are hurting your child. How can you prove them wrong??? Can you?

Becky grew up with a sick mother who made her life horrible. A child who had to lie. Had to say things that were not right. Can you get over that and move on  with your life and have a family of your own. Becky had to overcome so much and take care of her ailing daughter. Her husband, who I did not like from the beginning, was of no use to them at all. He was either being a demeaning brut or acting like a spoiled child who wanted things his way no matter what. I just did not like him at all.

Meghan was a child who had to practically give up her whole life because of being so sick. She knew something was not right but didn’t know what. She was a child and depended completely on her mother. Her dad was not there for her very much at all. Her mom did everything for her. Could she be making her sick too? Could it all be in Meghan’s head? Or could Meghan just be pretending that she was so sick?

This book will keep you on the edge of your seat. It has so many twists and turns and that ending was great. I loved it. I never ever expected that. I was in total shock. But after reading it, it makes sense that it would happen that way. 

I liked almost all the characters in this book with the exception of Carl and Dr Nash. I didn’t like her much at all. It is one that will have you guessing until the end and what an ending it was. Well the very ending was so sad that I cried, but before that I was blown away. It was a great book. It’s the first I have read by this author and I look forward to more.

A HUGE 5 stars from me.

Thank you to NetGalley and St Martin’s Press for a copy of this book for my complete and honest review. I loved it!!
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I decided to dump this book out since I have already got the other books to read this month and didn’t have much time left sorry...
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Many thanks to NetGalley, St Martin's Press, and D.J. Palmer for the opportunity to read this medical thriller!  I loved it and couldn't put it down - I kept changing my mind on who exactly was doing what to whom!

After a difficult childhood, Becky is a good mother to Meghan.  However, when Meghan becomes very ill, Becky becomes obsessed with trying to find out what's wrong with her daughter.  She takes her from doctor to doctor where they perform test after test and nothing can ever be diagnosed.  When Meghan exhibits even worse symptoms, doctors at the hospital step in and accuse Becky of having Munchausen syndrome by proxy, and either causing Meghan's symptoms or causing Meghan to have psychological issues presenting in physical illness.  Becky's husband, Carl, is tired of Becky's obsession as well and isn't sure the doctors aren't correct.

A great thrill ride of a book - highly recommended!
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I was "all in" with this fast-paced story until the 70% mark. That's when it all fell apart and the complete and utter nonsense that turned into an unbelievable climax and ending occurred. 
"NO WAY!" I screamed as everything I believed and felt was twisted into this bizarre and unrealistic conclusion with over-the-top motives and explanations that defy any kind of relationship to medicine or psychiatry. Nothing like what happened within these pages could or would happen in real life. So this is way beyond fantasy fiction. 

I've been a nurse for over 40 years, have lots of experience with kids and psych issues and yes, with Manchausen's with and without the "proxy". This whole scenario was ridiculous and I really did not like this book. All the characters are horrible, the mother is a whack job, and though I can usually put that severe dislike aside for a good story, it sure didn't work here because of how it all played out. I can't get past it, over it, nor can I suggest that anyone with a functioning brain actually read it.
Should I tell you how I really feel? If I didn't want to avoid giving spoilers, I'd say even more. 

I only finished it because I wanted to see just how far off crazy the author could make that ending.
I do thank NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for granting access to this title. I have read Daniel Palmer and Michael Palmer before -- yes, they've written good medical thrillers. But never before has one seemed so far off the mark of realism and accuracy that is essential to the science. As always, this is my honest opinion about what I've just read.
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Just the book to break my one month streak of not reading!!! I would say this is a must read for spring / summer so be sure not to miss its upcoming release date of 4/9. 

I could not stop turning pages because the plot twists kept on coming! I’m usually pretty good at predicting what is coming next but I was totally blind sighted with this book! 

Meghan is sick. Becky is a helicopter mom searching for a cure. Carl is the dad trying to hold it all together for the family. 

Or so we are lead to believe. 

They all have their secrets- some darker than others. By the time the truth comes out- it might be too late. 

Huge thank you to St. Martin’s Press, D.J. Palmer, and Netgalley for this ARC in an exchange for an honest review.
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Big thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I found Saving Meghan to be a good medical thriller. I couldn’t help but think of the similarities between Saving Meghan and Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects, when the protagonist’s mother, Adora, would make her youngest daughter, Amma, sick she could take care of her or baby her – or to put it more aptly – Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. Becky, the main character in Saving Meghan, seems to suffer from this when she manipulates her 15-year-old daughter, Meghan, into believing she is sick. The storyline explains that Becky went through something like this when her mother would take her to the hospital making the doctors think Becky was sick to collect disability checks.

Quite frankly, I was exhausted after reading the book. The plot pulled me in so many different directions with its multiple twists. I couldn’t find the tale believable, and it wasn’t easy to follow. Plus, I hated Becky’s manipulative character. I couldn’t find it in myself to find an ounce of sympathy for her.

Other than that, the book was somewhat enjoyable. Saving Meghan publishes on April 9 through St. Martin’s Press.
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Loved the book! This book scared me in many different ways. The worst one was having your daughter taken from you and having your parental rights stripped away. Throughout this whole book, I never knew who to believe. Is Becky a crazy mother making her own daughter sick? Is Carl behind everything? Is Meghan really sick? I kept wondering if Meghan and Becky would end up like Gypsy Rose and Dee Dee Blanchard. The book definitely had me guessing and there were so many twists and turns. Becky's background definitely made her suspicious. At times I didn't like her and questioned her tactics, which made her look guilty of causing her daughter's illness. Becky never worried about how her earring ended up in Dr. Levine's apartment. I would be scared and keep asking myself who could have put it there and why?!! Why didn't Becky question the amount of alcohol she found in Meghan's bedroom? Meghan went to great measures to hide it. Becky just passed it off to her being a teenager. The drinking problem is never really addressed. There were so many questions going off in my head throughout the book. The lengths that some people will go to just to get what they want is crazy and scary. I don't think I would have figured out the clue. Loved the characters, story and writing style. 

Definitely recommend the book. It was a mystery until the very end, when everything was finally revealed. I never knew who was telling the truth. I look forward to reading more books by the author. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from St. Martin's Press through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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Meghan Girard is a fifteen year old girl that is the daughter of a manipulative mother that may or may not be suffering from Munchausen by Proxy. 
     Becky Girard learned as a young girl to manipulate doctors and to lie so her mother could collect disability payments. 
     Becky wanted to confront her mother on her mother’s death bed. She also wanted to let her know that she forgave her. Because Becky believes Meghan is seriously ill she cannot complete her journey to visit her mother.  Becky doesn’t trust her husband. The reason being he doesn’t believe Meghan is really sick. He truly believes she’s making Meghan believe she’s really sick. 
     Will the conclusion answer your questions. Pick up a copy and find out. 
     D. J. Palmer never fails to entertain. He is one of my favorite go to authors. 
     A special thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for providing me with a digital ARC to read and review. 
      Put your jacket on and head to your nearest bookseller when it’s released.
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Saving Meghan is a medical courtroom thriller chronicling the hunt for diagnosis explaining Meghan's illnesses. Her mom Becky is completely devoted to finding out what has plagued her daughter for the past few years, but her dad, Carl, doesn't really believe Meghan is sick. Becky's mom used her and her sister Sabrina to lie for her, enabling her to receive disability for made up symptoms all throughout their childhood, so it just seems likely that all those years of abuse and trauma are affecting Becky now in adulthood and it's manifesting illnesses in her daughter. 
Munchausen syndrome by proxy stories have always intrigued me, and this novel takes readers on a wild ride through the lives of Becky, Carl, and Meghan. Although a psychiatrist and a gastroenterologist strongly believe this is what is wrong with Meghan, another doctor  suspects a rare disease he has seen first hand with his own child. What follows is a fight to save Meghan's life and her health. Told in multiple POV's, each chapter will have you questioning what you really think it wrong with Meghan. It's fast paced, full of suspense and family drama, and is so thrilling you won't be able to put it down!
Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin's Press, and the author for my advance copy of this book.
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Who can you trust? Which of the narrators is reliable?  Is any of them?  Meghan is ill and getting worse.  Her mother, Becky, has a LOT of unresolved issues with her own mother about medical things, so you'll wonder about her.  What about Carl, Meghan's father?  What about Meghan?  There are lots of twists in this one and about the best person to root for are the doctors (each of them).  This does go over the top at the end but it's a good read, with a plot line that will keep you guessing.  Thanks to net galley for the ARC.  A good travel book.
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When I saw that author Karin Slaughter had good things to say about this book, I knew I needed to read it! I requested a review copy on NetGalley and was approved! YAY!

Saving Meghan is about Meghan (obviously).  She's an ordinary 15 year-old girl who has it all -- a great and loving family, star soccer player and successful in school.  All of this comes to a screeching halt when mysterious medical symptoms begin to plague Meghan.  She is suddenly taken from one doctor to another and multiple tests and scans are done.  Meghan is suffering from cramping, fever, fatigue and muscle spasms, and her mother, Becky Girard, is certain that it’s something serious. Becky's own husband, Carl, doubts that Meghan is really sick and thinks that Becky is "making" Meghan sick by putting ideas in her head.

No one seems to be able to tag a real diagnosis on what is wrong with Meghan, even surrounded by the best medical care.  One doctor thinks Meghan has a rare genetic disease, while another suggests the situation could be stress induced.  Experts actually wonder if this could be a case of Munchhausen syndrome by proxy, a situation in which a caregiver makes up or causes an illness or injury in a person under his or her care, such as a child, an elderly adult, or a person who has a disability. They also wonder if it could be Mitochondrial disease, which is a chronic, genetic disorder that occurs when the mitochondria of the cell fail to produce enough energy for cell or organ function. 

I felt that the story was well researched and creative at the same time, and Saving Meghan informs readers at the same time they are entertained.  The disorders and medical knowledge in this story gratefully do not bog readers down with medical jargon either.

Saving Meghan had me continually guessing throughout the story.  I won't lie though, I did not like Becky, with her manipulative and pushy ways and I felt sorry for Meghan but at the same time, I was also wondering whether Meghan was really sick or not.  So many twists and turns get introduced that even though I didn't like Becky, I felt bad at times because she clearly loved her daughter so much and would do anything for her. 

Thanks to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley, for the opportunity to read an advance copy this book.  I was not required to write a positive review and the thoughts expressed here are my own.
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